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You can play Tango. Astor Piazzolla did; Anibal Troillo did; Leopoldo Frederico did. Many have done, do, and will go on doing it. This is what is expected. But you cannot play with Tango. This is hallowed ground, protected by taboos, punished by social exclusion. Gabriel Rivano is the one and only that has taken this risk, and suffered the consequences. In Rivano's hands, the bandoneon is no longer a vessel for male affirmation.
When Rivano places it on his knees, it's a child, it's a toy. Julio Cortazar, one of so many great "porteno" (from Buenos Aires) writers, said that children take their games very seriously, create their own rules -- their own Universe -- and abide strictly to them. When Rivano plays his toy, the bandoneon, he does it with the rigour and abandon of a child. He achieves the utmost playfulness within the strictest rules.
Rivano's music swings between these polarities: structure and playfulness. Tynianov, the Russian constructivist from the 1920s, wrote: "The artistic fact can't exist outside the submission, the deformation of each and every factor by the constructive factor." This is Rivano's style, his method.
Rivano inherits the love for structures from his father and the compulsion for playfulness from his mother: he was born into what in the future became his method, his style: his music is a continuous attempt to equate this family polarity, to infuse beauty into and from it. Each of his albums testifies to this struggle.
Rivano walks against Tango mainstream when he refuses its inherent violent and dramatic pathos and insists on being playful. The most direct consequence is: with the exception of a single album (Tradicion), Rivano records and distributes all his albums independently. Each album will overstep a Tango taboo.
The first two pieces, El portenito and Sabado Ingles, were composed in the beginnings of the 20th century (El portenito is from 1901) when the tango was being born. This period was called "Guardia Vieja del Tango" (Rivano´s grandfather was from that period and made the variation of Sabado Ingles).
Barrio de tango is a song by Troilo who´s conidered the most sentimental and expressive bandoneonist in the tango history. Piazzolla played in his orchestra in the 40´s. Milonga de mis amores is one of the most famous milongas- a rythm from where the tango came. Asado criollo and La luminosa are two pieces of Rivano with folklorical influence.
The tangos by Piazzolla that are included in the program are from the 1960s. On that period he composed their more important pieces who were discussed by the traditional tango audience.
The three last pieces were written by Gabriel Rivano in the 1980s and reflect the new tendencies in tango music.